Current Sermon Series
Matthew 15: 10-20
Our Hearts Are Sick And Cannot Be Trusted
In theology there is a term known as “Original Sin.” Original Sin is a term that is used to describe how the sin of Adam and Eve “corrupted the nature of Adam’s offspring.”
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Our hearts are sick and cannot be trusted. Don’t trust your heart. Stop listening to your heart. Stop telling people to listen to their heart. – the heart is deceptive and sick. This is why God has taught us that we need a new heart.
We must learn to lead our heart instead of following our heart.
An Unhealthy Spiritual Heart Desires Unhealthy Spiritual Things
Genesis 6:5 – “The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.”
Spiritually unhealthy hearts will lead people to an unhealthy view of God, unhealthy relationships, unhealthy behaviors, unhealthy addictions, an unhealthy use of time, an unhealthy use of money, etc…
Our Words And Actions Reveal The Condition Of Our Heart
Let’s examine our hearts:
1. Do you have someone that you hate?
2. Do you lust after someone?
3. Are you involved in a sexual relationship with someone you are not married to?
4. Have you stolen something that belongs to someone else or to a business?
5. Have you been telling lies?
6. Have you talked bad about someone behind their back?
HOW CAN I TRAIN MY HEART TO HUNGER AND THRIST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS?
Spiritual Exercises To Train The Heart For Righteousness
1. Every Day
–Read Scripture Daily
–Do Not Skip Church/Worship
–Tithe On A Weekly Basis
–Fast At Least One Day
–Do A Service Project
A hard heart has no life in the spirit either. And we choose our spiritual hearts every day. WE choose our actions. Our hearts in a Biblical sense are our motivations, our inner being. And when we are distracted from our purpose of giving praise to God and living our lives as God’s people, we become stone dead.
Past Sermon Series
Nurture & Nudge: The Sternness of God
The Sternness of God
Romans 11: 13-22
God’s love is not only displayed to us through kindness, but also through sternness.
“Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God:
sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you,
provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.”
Romans 11:22 teaches us two important things:
1. The Divine nature of God is both kind and stern. 2. The sternness of God is an expression of God’s divine love which is meant to draw us closer to Him.
“Sin is a radical challenge to God’s being Lord in His world,…it’s goal is nothing short of God’s extinction.” – Albert Truesdale
Sterness of God in the Old Testament
A: Justice – Genesis 4: 10-16 – Cain kills his brother Abel
B: Wrath – Genesis 19: 24 – Sodom and Gomorrah
C: Banishment – Genesis 3: 22-24 – God drives Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden
Sternnness of God in the New Testament
A: Justice – Revelation 20: 11-15 – The Judgement
B: Wrath – Romans 3: 24-26 – Jesus dying upon the cross
C: Banishment – Matthew 7:21-23 – Away from me you evil doers
- Fear and Respect God
- Learn what God is trying to teach you when He disciplines you.
- Trust that God’s sternness is motivated by love.
Nudging Us Out of Blindness
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Luke 16: 19-31
The Tragedy of the Rich Man
The spiritual blindness of the Rich Man caused him to not see the condition of others on earth; and his spiritual blindness in hell caused him to see not his own condition in eternity.
- On Earth:
a. Consumed with himself that he ignored the needs of Lazarus.
b. Consumed with himself and the present moment that he ignored the teachings of Scripture about the afterlife.
- In Hell:
a. Consumed with himself that he expects Lazarus to be his servant and bring him water.
b. Consumed with himself that he tried to blame God for his condition in hell.
What Can We Learn From The Rich Man?
1. We must open our eyes to see beyond the present.
2. Shift your focus off of yourself and onto others.
3. Don’t build your identity on anything but Christ.
We Must Open Our Eyes To See Beyond The Present
– Matthew 6: 19-21
– Colossians 3:2 – “Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Shift Your Focus Off Yourself and Onto Others
– Galatians 6:2 – “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
– Philippians 4:3 – “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Don’t Build Your Identity on Anything But Christ
– Romans 8:14-15
– 1 Peter 2:9 – “Let each of your look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Now Is The Time to Respond
God loves us enough to tell us upfront and warn us about eternity – Heaven and Hell. Jesus tells us about the Rich Man and Lazarus so that we can respond appropriately. The time for responding in faith is now.. There are no second chances or opportunities to cross the chasm between Heaven and Hell.
Struggling with God
Wrestling with God
Serious and tough things happen in life that cause us to wrestle with God. Often we struggle to understand why or the reasoning behind the struggles we are presented in our personal lives, the world around us, or with our spirituality and faith.
Jacob’s life is best defined as a life of struggle.
- The Struggle With Esau:
a. The struggle in the womb and later at birth.
b. The struggle for the birthright.
c. The struggle for the blessing.
- The Struggle With Laban:
a. Jacob works for 7 years to marry Rachel, but Laban gives him his older daughter Lea instead.
b. Jacob works another 7 years and marries Rachel. Laban agreed to let Jacob and his wives return to his home with the blemished sheep and goats in the flock. However, when Jacob was off with part of his flock, Laban’s sons culled all these animals and drove them three days’ journey away.
c. Jacob returns and has the strongest ewes mate with the blemished sheep and set the strongest apart for himself and returning the rest to Laban.
Our relationship with God is often displayed through our relationships with others.
The Dark Night of the Soul
This confrontation with God is a long night. In preparation for meeting with Esau, Jacob planned (32:7-8), prayed (32:9-12), then planned more (32:13-21), prayed again (32:22-32), and planned still more (33:1-3).
Ashamed, afraid, and alone a man is open to divine intervention.
For Jacob, the name Israel has two meanings:
1. One who struggled with God.
2. One who struggles with God.
Facing What You Dread
– The transformed life of Jacob meant that he had to face his past.
– The new direction of his life required the repair of the dmanage of his old life.
1. Your struggles in life may be directly linked to your struggle with God.
2. Your loneliness is an opportunity for an encounter with God.
3. Confronting your past is always a part of God’s plan for your new life in Christ.
4. God’s plan is to not only transform and heal you, but to also transform and heal your relationships.
Struggling with God – Part 2
Christians Are NOT Exempt From Struggles With Other People
1. Inter-Personal Relationship Struggles
– It is better to let people insult you than it is to NOT express the love of Christ to an evil person.
2. Jurisprudence Struggles:
– It is better to part with our belongings than it is to NOT express the love of Christ to an evil person.
3. Political Struggles
– It is better to show the love of Christ by being helpful and going the second mile, than it is to NOT show the love of Christ by being spiteful and vengeful.
4. Business Struggles
– It is better to put others above yourself, than it is to NOT show the love of Christ by giving and sharing.
Do Not Resist An Evil Person
– Romans 12: 17-21: 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:15: See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
– Hebrews 10:30: For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
So why does Jesus teach us to NOT resist? Christian love is more effective than resistance.
Christian Love Must Go Beyond The Love That Is Expected
“Resistance seeks to push people away. The love of Christ seeks to draw people near.”
1. Show grace to everyone – Common Grace
–We can follow in the example of God, by offering grace to everyone – whether they deserve it or not. By doing so, we are allowing God to use us to draw people closer to Him.
2. Seek the best for others – Agape Love
–Agape Love – a love that seeks the best for others whether they deserve it or not.
1. In what ways have you been resisting others instead of reaching out to them in love?
2. What individual is God calling you to reach out to with love?
3. Will you allow God to use you to draw that individual closer to God by loving on them?